Legislature wants say in any decision on Red and Purple Lines

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Sen. Richard Madaleno, vice chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee

The new secretary of transportation Pete Rahn told lawmakers Tuesday that he opposed suggested budget language that would tie his hands on shifting money from the proposed Red and Purple light rail lines without the approval of the legislature.

As he did last week, Rahn promised the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee that he would try to have the review of those two multi-billion-dollar projects done before the legislative session ends April 13.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn
Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn

But that promise was not enough for the legislators. Legislative staff is proposing budget language that prevents Rahn from using money in this year’s budget — $46 million on Baltimore’s east-west Red Line and $127 million for the Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrolton — for any other project unless the governor submits a supplemental budget to make the change and it is approved by the General Assembly.

Rahn asked for more flexibility, but B&T Vice Chair Richard Madaleno said, “I don’t see us giving you that flexibility… of doing it outside the session.”

“You’re not going to re-designate that money” for roads in other areas without legislative approval, Madaleno told him.

–Len Lazarick